Pediatric Safety & Avoiding Overuse Issues

When choosing baby gear such as car seats, strollers and baby carriers, it’s natural to focus on the safety of your child. But did you know that some problems can occur for you or your child if these items are overused or used incorrectly? Just one example: An aching back after carrying an infant around – it doesn’t take long for this to occur.

How do I choose a car seat?

When selecting a car seat, make sure you choose one that fits your child and follow directions to avoid injury. You can purchase separate seats for different stages of development or a convertible seat that adjusts for your child as he or she grows. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the right car seat is the one that fits your car as well as your child… and is used every time. There is extensive information on how to choose one that’s best.

Infant car seats are designed to be rear-facing, only for newborns and small babies.

Convertible seats can be rear-facing for a younger baby and front-facing for an older child.

All-in-one seats can change from rear-facing to forward-facing and can convert to a booster seat as well.

Booster seats are designed to make the seat belt fit properly. Some are backless, while others have a high back that provides head and neck support — ideal for vehicles that do not have head rests.

Combination seats are designed to change from a forward-facing seat to a booster seat.

How can parents prevent back pain?

Unless you plan to stay home, strollers and baby carriers can help. Make sure the stroller you choose is easy enough to use so as not to cause back strain. 

The American Physical Therapy Association notes that you can experience back pain from incorrectlylifting and carrying an infant carrier. Even the weight of a small newborn can feel like a load of bricks before long. Use proper lifting techniques if you have a car seat that doubles as an infant carrier. Better yet, carry your baby close to your body. Throughout history, mothers have comfortably carried their babies in cloth slings or wraps, allowing them to keep their little ones close while doing chores or walking long distances. Today, slings and wraps aren’t limited to mothers; many fathers enjoy wearing them, too. Check here for more tips on avoiding back pain while lifting or caring for your child.

How can parents prevent “Container Baby Syndrome”?

With the best of intentions, many parents keep their infants in a “container,” such as a car seat, swing, bounce seat or plastic infant carrier, for many hours per day. While the intention is to keep the baby safe, too much time in the same position can cause what is known as “Container Baby Syndrome,” or CBS.

CBS can lead to a flattened back of the head, facial deformities, movement and behavior difficulties, delayed muscle development and other problems. But it is totally preventable. Of course, when you’re traveling in a vehicle, your baby must be in a car seat, but to prevent CBS, make sure you don’t leave your baby in any “container” for excessive periods. Hold your baby upright in your arms, or wear your infant in a sling. Give your baby supervised “tummy time” every day when he or she is awake. This tummy time helps babies develop their arm and neck muscles so they can lift their heads, roll over and develop normally. If using bottles, always hold the baby during feedings rather than giving a bottle to the baby while he or she is resting in a container.

How is CBS treated?

The best course of action is to prevent CBS, but if it has already developed, a physical therapist can help reverse it by evaluating your baby and developing a treatment plan to increase your baby’s strength and range of motion. Sometimes, therapists will recommend a reshaping helmet.

Contact us to see how we can help today! Although no physician referral is needed to see a physical therapist, some insurance companies may require a referral for coverage.